In October 2020, Jesuit Urumuri Centre at its premises held the ground-breaking International Laudato Si’ Conference to mark the 5th anniversary of his holiness Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. The theme of the conference was youth engagement in environmental protection and was attended by guests that included scholars, pastors, civil servants and environment activists. The consensus in what was discussed at the conference was that the youth need to be more conscious of the environment and that they need to advocate for its conservation.
Since then JUC has initiated the project named “Environmental conservation through improved land utilization to support school feeding for vulnerable children in the archdiocese of Kigali”. The project is a response to the Pope’s call to care for our common home.
The program was thought of with the aim of improving ecological awareness through the utilization of land, by planting 400 fruit trees in partner schools. Eventually, the fruits consisting of avocados, papaya, mango, tree tomato and passion fruit, will be sold to generate revenue to feed vulnerable children at the schools. During the implementation of the program, teachers and students will also form clubs at the schools, where the former will teach environmental conservation using JUC environment manual book.
On Friday 30 September 2022, JUC hosted school directors from 13 schools where JUC director Fr. Ernest Ngiyembere, SJ, had the opportunity to speak to them in length about his desire to have their collaboration in implementing the project.
JUC assistant director Mr. Pierre Nyandwi SJ then did a presentation on the activities of the project. This meeting was concluded by Fr. Ernest who requested the directors to provide 2 teachers each, who would then be taken through a training of onsite facilitators on JUC’s manual for environmental conservation.
From Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 October 2022 JUC hosted 25 teachers from 13 schools in a training that was given by agronomist Mr. Etienne Niyigaba. Mr. Etienne took the group through the modules of the project’s manual namely;
- Why the environment
- Environment protection
- Climate change
- Tree plantation for climate change mitigation and adaptation
During this training, the teachers were also given a tour of JUC’s nursery where Mr. Etienne spoke to them about the processes of rearing the seedlings and the eventual transplanting of the fruit seedlings to their schools.
Mr. Pierre, SJ, gave the closing remarks of the 3 day training, tasking teachers with going back to their schools and creating environment clubs. Beginning next week, JUC staff will deliver 400 seedlings to each school.
JUC Communication Officer